Google Says the World Was Made, Made Pretty By Men

Like Frau Sally Benz, I was excited to see Frida Kahlo in all her beautiful, feminist glory on the Google homepage today – I love her!

Then I had to ask the question I always ask: “How many women versus men has Google honored this way?”

As often happens, the answer made me want to lose my lunch.

It turns out the special logos are officially known as Google Doodles. The tradition began in 1999 when the Google founders added a stick figure to the regular logo to signify their attendance at the Burning Man Festival. It was so well received they decided to ask Dennis Hwang, then an intern and now “chief doodler”, to create a logo for Bastille Day 2000. A tradition was born and to date Google claims to have created 300 doodles for the United States and 700 internationally that honor holidays and “creativity and innovation.”

According to Google’s design team, women lack both. Of 109 innovators, artists, revolutionaries and creators designated important or interesting enough for a doodle, only 8 have been women. It took eight full years for the Google team to find a woman worthy of the honor, which finally went to French pilot Hélène Boucher in May of 2008. Her doodle could only be viewed on the Google France homepage. The first woman to receive a global doodle was Beatrix Potter, best known as the author of the Tale of Peter Rabbit series, and the second was Mary Cassatt, an American impressionist painter. The third, it seems, is Frida Kahlo.

With all that feminists need to focus on achieving for women in the world – equal pay for equal rights, bodily autonomy, political representation at all levels, actual recognition of women’s humanity – why waste time on who gets a little drawing on Google?

Because we’ve lived with the myth that men created the world and everything good in it for long enough. As long as men get to designate who and what in history is important, young women will continue to learn that all their sex has contributed throughout all of history is their wombs. If we can’t see ourselves as the inventors, artists, revolutionaries and creators that came before, how the hell are we supposed to fashion ourselves into the modern versions? Schools certainly aren’t doing a very good job in this department and since it processes over a billion searches a day, Google plays an increasingly important role in how and what young people learn.

Google, I’ve got some suggestions for you. What about Ada Lovelace, the woman who was the world’s first computer programer and, conveniently, has a whole day dedicated to her celebration? If the guy who created the first nuclear facility in China gets a doodle, Marie Curie certainly deserves one. If you honored the birth of realism, you should also honor the (flawed, yes) godmother of feminism, Mary Wollstonecraft. What about some of the women behind the great social movements in the United States, like Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks and Dorothy Height?

Women also make art and music and write, and not just in the United States. What about Italian Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi, the first woman to gain entry into the Accademia di Arte del Disegno in Florence? Bengali writer Ashapoorna Devi wrote appeals for gender and religious equality in widely read novels for both children and adults. Why not honor Miriam Makeba, known as “Mother Africa,” for her cultural role in ending apartheid in South Africa?

Who would you have Google honor with a doodle? I know my suggestions are Western and cis centric at best, so leave your suggestions in the comments – I’ll be sending this post along with the list of names to the doodlers at Google, who claim they take suggestions from the public seriously. I, for one, will be watching.

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87 Responses to Google Says the World Was Made, Made Pretty By Men

  1. Sarah J says:

    Sylvia Rivera. A girl can dream, right?

  2. Veronica says:

    I mentioned the lack of women highlighted at Google a few years ago. (waaay at the bottom)

    Thanks for a much better look at the problem!

    I also noted that Yahoo! is upping their game with recognizing women on their front page as well. They had a Rosie up for International Women’s Day while Google had nada.

  3. Jadey says:

    Off the top of my head, I would love to see a Doodle for Lynn Conway and Temple Grandin, as women who have made incredible technical and social achievements.

  4. Mitch J says:

    Martha Stewart has my vote!

  5. scmoore says:

    Ummm…I think you are right about the underrepresentation of women on Google, but what you presented is an inaccurate count…more than 8, for sure. Plus, we need to consider that the vast majority of Doodles are not of individuals, but of events…

    It’s really good to point out sexism on Google, but let’s make sure we get our facts straight first.

  6. Thomas says:

    Heavens, let’s see. Mother Jones. Georgia O’Keeffe. Margaret Sanger. Susan B. Anthony. Helen Keller. Florence Nightingale. Elizabeth Tudor. Maria Montessori. Edith Nesbit. Sappho.

  7. Shelby Knox says:

    @scmoore To clarify, I went through all the doodles and counted the number of real people’s birthdays (or the anniversary of their birthday) that were given a Doodle. That number was 109 and 8 were women – I wasn’t counting the holidays, celebrations of the Olympics, or the Google contests not out of unfairness but because the topic came up because Frida Kahlo was featured today, on her birthday. I hope this clarifies your question!

  8. josibear says:

    My vote is for Murasaki Shikibu, the writer of the first novel ever! (At least the first novel still extant.) She wrote the Tale of Genji way back in the 11th century in Heian Japan and people in the 21st century are still reading it! That is worth at least a Google doodle.

  9. mk says:

    I know you weren’t including the contests, but I think mentioning Doodle 4 Google is relevant. I’m having trouble bringing up any previous winners, but both the 2009 and 2010 national winners were girls. (Maybe the contest started last year…? Unclear.)

    With the exception of Hwang, the vast majority of adults featured in the video coverage from last year’s contest are women, including two directors from Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, and clearly girls did well as regional finalists.

    That said–of this year’s “expert jurors,” who judged the entries, only 4 of 12 were women.

  10. DebSens says:

    hmmm seconding Elizabeth Tudor and Ada Lovelace, and Marie Cury
    also Amelia Earhart, Sally Ride, Jane Addams(hull house),Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova(first woman in space), Alexandra Nechita(24 year old artist genius nicknamed “petite piccaso”

  11. IkaTaii says:

    Seconding Sylvia Rivera, and (if it doesn’t already exist) a doodle for Transgender Day of Remembrance wouldn’t be amiss.

    For someone more likely to be accepted by Google, Amelia Earhart.

  12. Rebecca says:

    Judith Butler! <3

  13. Hillary says:

    Lena Horne, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Janis Joplin, Dorothy Parker, Benazir Bhutto, Jeanne d’Arc, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucy Stone, Lucretia Mott, Susan B. Anthony, Georgia O’Keefe, Marlene Dietrich, Rachel Carson, Amelia Earhart, Marilyn Monroe! (We didn’t start the fire…)

  14. Gembird says:

    You had me at ‘Ada Lovelace’.

    Also, Rosalind Franklin. People always forget her when they talk about the discovery of the double helix.

    And Hypatia, who was the first well-known female mathematician.


  15. Kaz says:

    From my subject I have to put in a plug for Sophie Germain and Emmy Noether. :) Um, if I say Rosa Luxemburg will the communistphobes’ heads explode?

  16. Natalia says:

    Different and fascinating figures, for me: Catherine the Great. Kira Muratova. Alexandra Kollontai. Anna Politkovskaya. Artemisia. Seconding Rosa Luxembourg.

  17. melora says:

    Jane Austen, Anne/Charlotte/Emily Bronte, Andre Norton, Elizabeth Gaskell, Virginia Woolf, Anne Radcliffe, George Eliot, Edith Warton, Ida B Wells, Ida Tarbell

  18. Jeff Kaufman says:

    Doing my own count I get: 100 birthdays, 9 women. But this is almost the same.

    The only thing I found weird was the statement “It took eight full years for the Google team to find a woman worthy of the honor, which finally went to French pilot Hélène Boucher in May of 2008“. First, it looks like the first doodle of a woman was Florence Nightingale on 2008-05-12. When looking over the doodles for birthdays, though, it was pretty clear that they’re kind of recent. In the 10 years before 2008 that google has been doing doodles, there were only 18 birthday ones. In the next two and a half years there have been 82. So saying it took until 2008 doesn’t mean anything. Once we’ve established the low female to male ratio, that it would take 20 men before we get the first woman isn’t that surprising.

    Anyways, the listing, with genders:

    m Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s 110th Birthday – (France, Germany)
    m Sunthorn Phu’s Birthday – (Thailand)
    m Konrad Zuse’s 100th Birthday – (Germany)
    m Jean-Paul Sartre’s 105th Birthday – (France, Germany)
    m Jacques Cousteau’s 100th Birthday – (Global)
    m Robert Schumann’s 200th Birthday – (Germany)
    m Dennis Gabor’s 110th birthday (Global)
    m John Harsanyi’s Birthday (Hungary)
    m Isaac Albeniz Birthday (Spain)
    m Milutin Milankovich’s Birthday – (Croatia, Serbia)
    m 150th Anniversary of Martin Kukucin’s Birthday – (Slovakia)
    m 150th Birthday of J.M. Barrie – (Selected Global)
    f Umm Kalthum’s Birthday – (Selected Global)
    m 225th Birthday of Karl Drais – (Germany)
    m Josif Pancic’s Birthday – (Serbia)
    f Karen Blixen’s Birthday – (Denmark)
    m Vlasta Burian’s Birthday – (Czech Republic, Slovakia)
    m Hans Christian Andersen’s 205th Birthday – (Global)
    m Jan Amos Komensky’s 418th Birthday – (Czech Republic, Slovakia)
    m Akira Kurosawa’s Birthday – (Selected Countries)
    m Felix Rodriguez de la Fuente’s Birthday – (Spain)
    m Alessandro Manzon’s Birthday – (Italy)
    m Vivaldi’s Birthday – (Global)
    m Frederic Chopin’s 200th Birthday – (Poland)
    m Napoleon Orda’s Birthday – (Belarus)
    m Natsume Soseki’s Birthday – (Japan)
    m Norman Rockwell’s Birthday – (Global)
    m 150th Anniversary of Anton Chekhov’s Birthday – (Russia)
    m 100th Anniversary of Django Reinhard’s Birthday – (France, Belgium)
    m Sir Isaac Newton’s Birthday – (Global)

    m Jan Evangelista Purkyne’s Birthday – (Czech Republic)
    m LL Zamenhof’s 150th Birthday – Founder of Esperanto (Global)
    m Qian Xusen’s Birthday – (China)
    m Nageeb Fahouz’s Birthday – (Egypt)
    m E.C. Segar’s Birthday – Popeye – (Global)
    m Isamu Noguchi’s Birthday – (Japan)
    f Mei Lanfang’s Birthday – (China)
    m Rampo Edogawa’s Birthday – (Japan)
    m Mikhail Lermontov’s Birthday – (Russia)
    m Giuseppe Verdi’s Birthday – (Italy)
    m Mahatma Gandhi’s Birthday – (Selected Countries)
    m Confucius’ Birthday – (Selected Countries)
    m H.G. Wells’ Birthday – (Selected Countries)
    m Ivan Kostoylevsky’s Birthday – (Ukraine)
    m Michael Jackson’s Birthday – (Selected Countries)
    m Ilya Repin’s Birthday – (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus)
    m Birthday of Pablo Neruda – (Selected Countries)
    m Birthday of Nikola Tesla – (Global)
    m Ramon Gomez de la Serna’s Birthday – (Spain)
    m Birthday of Igor Stravinsky – (Global)
    m Alexander Pushkin’s Birthday – (Russia)
    f Mary Cassatt’s Birthday – (Global)
    m Chen Jingrun’s Birthday – (China)
    m Rabindranath Tagore’s birthday – (India)
    m Samuel Morse’s Birthday – (Global)
    m Tomitaro Makino’s Birthday – (Japan)
    m Zu Chongzhi’s Birthday – (China)
    m Christiaan Huygens’ Birthday – (Netherlands)
    m Mimar Sinan’s Birthday – (Turkey)
    f Sabiha Gokcen’s Birthday – (Turkey
    m Giovanni Schiaparelli’s Birthday – (Global)
    m Charles Darwin’s Birthday – (Global)
    m Tadataka Ino’s Birthday – (Japan)
    f Bona Nemcova’s Birthday (Czech Republic)
    m Theodor Heuss’ Birthday – (Germany)
    m Jackson Pollock’s Birthday (Global)

    m Rene Magritte’s 110th Birthday (Global)
    m Ludovit Stur’s Birthday (Slovakia)
    m Rumi’s Birthday – (Turkey)
    m Miguel de Cervantes’ Birthday – (Spain)
    m Richard Bowyer Smith’s Birthday – (Australia)
    m Joachim Ringelnatz’s Birthday – (Germany)
    f Beatrix Potter’s Birthday (Global)
    m Kaii Higashiyama’s Birthday – (Japan)
    m Marc Chagall’s Birthday (Global)
    m Kawabata Yasunari’s Birthday – (Japan)
    m Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Birthday – (UK)
    m Diego Velazquez’s Birthday – (Global)
    f 100th Birthday of Helene Boucher – (France)
    m 125th Birthday of Walter Gropius (Global)
    f Florence Nightingale’s Birthday – (UK)
    m Bela Bartok’s Birthday – (Hungary)

    m Luciano Pavarotti’s Birthday – (Global)

    m Edvard Munch’s Birthday – (Global)
    m Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Birthday – (Global)
    m Percival Lowell’s Birthday – (Global)

    m Frank Lloyd Wright’s Birthday – (Global)
    m Leonardo Da Vinci’s Birthday – (Global)
    m Vincent Van Gogh’s Birthday – (Global)

    m Ray Charles’ Birthday – (Global)

    2003 and older
    m Gaston Julia’s Birthday – (Global)
    m Alfred Hitchcock’s Birthday – (Global)
    m MC Escher’s Birthday – (Global)
    m Albert Einstein’s Birthday – (Global)
    m Michelangelo’s Birthday – (Global)
    m Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday – (US)
    m Happy Birthday Picasso – (Global)
    m Andy Warhol’s Birthday – (Global)
    m Piet Mondrian’s Birthday – (Global)
    m Claude Monet’s Birthday – (Global)

  19. Jesurgislac says:

    Let’s come up with a 101 names so that Google can redress the balance, before they move on to an evenhanded Google Doodle. Who should Google honour?

    Maria Gaetana Agnesi (1718-1799), for whom the Agnesi Curve is named, who published Instituzioni Analitiche (“Analytical Institutions”, one of the first and most complete works on finite and infinitesimal analysis) at the age of 30;

    Jocelyn Bell Burnell, the astrophysicist who discovered the first radio pulsars;

    Patricia Bath, who invented laser eye surgery to remove cataracts (and, in 1988, was the first African-American female doctor to patent a medical invention);

    Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin, the Nobel Prize-winning chemist who was instrumental in determining the structure of penicillin and vitamin B12, and who discovered the chemical composition of insulin;

    Agnes Meyer Driscoll (1889-1971), one of America’s leading cryptanalysts, served in the Navy before and during WWII;


  20. metaquarry says:

    Henriette Avram, who pulled libraries out of the era of card catalogs into the computer age.

  21. Edna St. Vincent Milay, Louise Brooks, Olive Thomas

  22. Meg (the English Grad Student) says:

    Is it sad that my students mostly know Helen Keller as “The trump card in Apples to Apples”?

    I’d vote for Harriet Tubman, Jane Goodall, Christine de Pisan, Aphra Behn, and Rosalind Franklin. Just for starters.

  23. Yolanda C. says:

    Let’s see—here’s where I’d start:

    Bessie Smith
    Mary Lou Williams
    Anna May Wong
    Zora Neale Hurston
    Anna Julia Cooper (who hails from my hometown and was the fourth Black woman in US history to complete a doctorate)
    Jeanne Calment
    Nella Larsen
    Alysa Stanton (first Black woman halachically ordained as a rabbi)

    Just a start—this list could get too long. ;-)

  24. Ducky says:

    bell hooks.
    Harriet Tubman.
    Abigail Adams.
    Sojourner Truth.
    Margaret Sanger.

  25. Great point and great idea. For the birthday honor, I suggest Jane Addams, the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize (in 1931), whose 150th birthday is September 6th, 2010. Innovation and creativity were her trademarks — she and her activist friends invented new ways for women to be political activists without the vote, and new ways to work to prevent war, when men thought it was pointless to try. And for another birthday, how about March 25, 2011 for Gloria Steinem, whose creativity and innovation in co-founding Ms. Magazine and the Ms. Foundation (the first women’s foundation in the world?) are worth celebrating. For the anniversary of a major event, how about August 26, 2010, which is the 90th anniversary of women getting the vote in the United States.

  26. Jadey says:

    Audre Lord!

    Damn, there are just so many – it should be easy for Google to match the number of their male recognitions every year. It’s not like the world hasn’t been full of fabulous people from the beginning of time.

  27. melaka says:

    Margaret Mead! We can’t overlook her.

    Also, let’s give props to the women of sci-fi: Octavia Butler, Ursula LeGuin, Mary Shelley, Margaret Atwood, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, to name a few.

  28. BlackBloc says:

    I’d put in Emma Goldman and Volteirine de Cleyre, but some might think I have a bit of a bias in making those suggestions.

  29. Mo says:

    Emma Goldman and Assata Shakur — two of the most revolutionary sisters I’ve ever heard of… but perhaps Google doesn’t promote a revolution

  30. haley says:

    Emma Goldman.

  31. Linnaeus says:

    Hey, I’ve been gone for a while. Hi, everyone.

    I think Laura Bassi ought to get a mention.

  32. Brenda says:

    Anyone got time to work out many of the people celebrated int he doodles are not white?

  33. emily says:

    Simone de Beauvoir, Virginia Woolf, Julian of Norwich, George Eliot, Aphra Behn, Fanny Burney, Elizabeth Gaskell, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Beverly Sills, Sophie Scholl, Joan of Arc, Amrita Sher-Gil, Christina Rossetti, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, H.D., Austen, another vote for Rosalind Franklin, Zora Neale Hurston, Plath, Sexton, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Ida Wells-Barnett, Margaret Sanger, Elizabeth Blackwell, Jane Addams, Mary Bethune, Eleanor freakin’ Roosevelt, and on and on.

  34. KMTBerry says:

    Brenda: My guess is…one?

  35. Here is a list of Indian_women_by_occupation
    As for Indian mathematicians, Panini, Aryabhatta, Ramanujam, Pingala, Katyayana, Yativrsabha and so many more come to mind. WP has a list of Indian_mathematicians


  36. KMTBerry says:

    On a more serious note, I counted 14 non-white Google Doodles Birthday People. But all except ONE were Asian.

    I guessed ONE because it seemed to me that there was ONE black person..MLK JR.

  37. Dr. Confused says:

    Nancy Harkness Love, the head of the WASP program in WW2. Grace Hopper, who invented the compiler (a tool that Google uses hundreds of times a day!)

  38. Stoopers says:

    Simone de Beauvoir

  39. Astrid says:

    I would second/third/whatever Helen Keller, Rosa Luxemburg, Marlen Dietrich, Simone de Beauvoir (or have they got her yet?).

  40. Here is a list of Indian_women_by_occupation and as for Indian
    mathematicians, Panini, Aryabhatta, Ramanujam, Pingala, Katyayana,
    Yativrsabha and so many more come to mind. WP has a list of Indian_mathematicians

  41. Martine says:

    Seconding Margaret Atwood and Ursula K. LeGuin!

  42. S says:

    One quick correction, since folks’ counts are off: Mei Lanfang was the stage name of the man Mei Lan – a professional opera singer in the Beijing Opera, who primarily played female roles during an era in which women were not permitted to be on stage. He did not IDENTIFY as female or a woman, though; he lived as a man in his private life. He really should not be counted among the number of women honored.

  43. Sayeh says:

    EVE did a list of “100 Women” in response to Time’s 100 and Esquire’s 75, that were also overwhelmingly male dominated, and they have quite a few great suggestions!

  44. MaggLiz says:

    Isadora Duncan – The mother of Modern Dance. Talk about creativity and innovation!

  45. I would love to see King Hatshepshut of the 18h dynasty of Egypt. She was a literal Drag King, wearing her false beard and having her title be the always male Pharaohs. She restored trading relations ruined by former war-hungry leaders, and brought a reign of peace and wealth to her citizens.
    And Mother Amma, who hugs perpetually, and speaks with the voice of the Goddess
    Aum-Rak – Mayan Shaman and healer, She travels the world at the grace of others and teaches the wisdom she has channeled from the Divine Mother
    Annie Sprinkle, because she is a wonderful sex educator!!

  46. Wendell says:

    Another for Le Guin.

    I’d nominate Ida P. Rolf.

  47. Lauren says:

    Lucy Stone (because not enough people know who she was)
    and Anne Sexton because we all need a little Anne in our lives

    Thanks for a great post!

  48. Jax says:

    Hey I got an idea. Why don’t you post pictures of all these amazing woman in feministe’s banner? At the present its quite shitty one. So no one would miss it.

    Since this is a feminist site, everyday should have a different woman honored. That 365 (and a quarter) different fantastic women. Plus since this is a .us domain. That means other global feministe’s site can have there own national woman posted as well.

    • Jill says:

      Hey I got an idea. Why don’t you post pictures of all these amazing woman in feministe’s banner? At the present its quite shitty one. So no one would miss it.

      Hey I got an idea. Why don’t you make a suggestion without insulting us? We quite like our banner, actually. Also, creating a new banner every single day would be an enormous task. This blog is run by actual people who have other jobs and lives and whatnot. Unlike Google, which is run by people whose job it is to run Google. And whose job it is to create their banners.

  49. Suzan says:

    Emma Goldman, Lucy Parsons, Simone de Beauvoir, Angela Davis, Bernadine Dohrn, Gloria Steinem, Charlotte Bunch, Victoria Woodhull, Andrea James, Margaret Sanger, Margo St. James, Nan Goldin, Georgia O’Keefe, Joan Mitchel, Joni Mitchell, Helen Frankenthaler, Elaine de Kooning, Lee Krasner, Amy Goodman. Dorothy Ray Healey, Helen Gurly Flynn, Jane Fonda, Debra Sweet,

  50. Lady Vanessa says:

    Emma Goldman, for sure!!!!!

    Winona LaDuke

    Cynthia McKinney

    Babe Didrikson, all time great all around athlete

    Deanna Nolan, Greatest Basketball Player Ever…yes, even better than Michael Whatshisname who used to play for the Bulls!

    Amy Ray + Emily Saliers = The Indigo Girls, Feminist Folk Rockers!

    Ani DiFranco, another great Feminist musician

    Pat Summitt, coach of the U of Tennessee women’s basketball team

    Carol Hutchins, coach of the U of Michigan softball team and IMHO the best coach Michigan has ever had in any sport

    Julia Serano and Kate Bornstein: my two favorite transwoman authors

    Rachel Crandall, Sue Crocker, and Stephanie Loveless: three very dear friends of mine who have been there for me as i have come out of the closet as a trans woman. And who are also very active in the Detroit area and Michigan more generally as LGBT activists.

  51. Victoria Newell says:

    How “bout Grace Hopper and Hedy Lamarr-both mothers of invention directly relating to computers!

  52. Euphonia says:

    Mary Seacole!

  53. Naamah says:

    Ursula LeGuin.
    Alice Sheldon/James Tiptree, Jr.
    Valentina Tereshkova.
    Temple Grandin.
    Georgia O’Keeffe.
    Grandma Moses.
    Octavia Butler.
    Margaret Atwood.
    Sojourner Truth.
    Simone de Beauvoir.
    Sylvia Plath.
    Susie Bright.
    Nancy Friday.
    Billie Holiday
    And, perhaps the one I would most like to see done, Sappho.

  54. Brennan says:

    Barbara McClintock, who helped invent modern genetics and endured decades of ostracism for her efforts. Rosalind Franklin can play too.

  55. Anabelle says:

    Hmm…what about making a Google Doodle for Murasaki Shikibu, the woman who’s credited for writing the world’s first modern novel?

  56. Maggie says:

    The striking numbers are just sad here.

  57. maggie says:

    I’d also like to mention my Google suggestions:
    Siouxsie Sioux
    Stevie Nicks
    Kathleen Hanna
    Debbie Harry
    Lydia Lunch
    Kim Gordon
    MC Lyte
    Queen Latifah

  58. Kathy says:

    I like all the suggestions so far. Here are a few more.
    Sei Shōnagon
    Wilma Pearl Mankiller
    Dorothy Allison
    Hua Mulan
    Toni Morrison
    Eve Ensler
    Agnes Pareyio

  59. Dark Morgaine says:

    Minnijean Brown-Trickey – one of the Little Rock Nine, black students who were the first admitted to the desegregated Central High. She was suspended and later expelled for not taking guff from racist fellow students.

    Empress Wu – the only woman to rule China as Emperor. Yes, I said Emperor.

    Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir – current Prime Minister of Iceland, married her female partner when same-sex marriage was legalized in Iceland, also the first openly non-heterosexual head of government in the modern era (phrasing from Wikipedia).

    Hatshepsut – pharaoh of Egypt.

    Madeleine Albright -first female Secretary of State in the United States

    Eleanore Roosevelt

    Sarah Winnemucca – first Native American woman to secure a copywrite and publish in the English language.

    Wilma Mankiller – first woman elected chief of the Cherokee nation

    Princess Kaiulani – active voice against American annexation of Hawai’i.

    Tori Amos

    King Kristina of Sweden

    Dolores Ibárruri “La Pasionaria”

  60. Natalia says:

    How could I forget Valentina Tereshkova! The first woman in space!

    Also, the author of Red Sky, Black Death – Anna Yegorova, a Soviet fighter pilot.

  61. Tom Foolery says:

    Good suggestions, but a huge percentage of them are way off-brand for Google. If you look at the people who’ve been selected, men and women, they celebrate the kind of values that Google is philosophically invested in (or at least wants to appear to be invested in) — nerdiness, innovation in technology and design, and artistic merit (with a slight skew towards art directed at young people, as evidenced by highlighting Padington Bear, Le Petit Prince, Dr. Seuess, Beatrix Potter, etc.)

    What you don’t see many of (especially in the global doodles as opposed to the localized ones) is politicians, revolutionaries, people who are still alive, and relatively few “first X to do Y” people. I’d take a guess and say that anyone who could be described as controversial is probably right out.

  62. Mary Terrell says:

    Dolly Madison, Abigail Adams, Hillary Clinton, Madeline Albright, Sandra Day O’Connor, Margaret Thatcher, Maya Angelou, Indira Ghandi, Golda Meyer, Mother Teresa (surprised they haven’t already)…..

  63. Marissa says:

    Joan of Arc.
    Queen Elizabeth I.
    Bettie Page.
    Princess Diana.
    Rosa Parks.

  64. Faith says:

    “I’d take a guess and say that anyone who could be described as controversial is probably right out.”

    If that were true, they wouldn’t be able to honor anyone for anything. Everyone is controversial to someone somewhere.

  65. Tom Foolery says:

    If that were true, they wouldn’t be able to honor anyone for anything. Everyone is controversial to someone somewhere.

    But it doesn’t mean they are controversial, or should be described that way.

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  67. Lisa says:

    How about Juliette Gorden Low, founder of Girl Scouts? Especially since Girl Scouts will be 100 years old in 2012. Marie Curie comes to mind. And Maya Angelou, Pearl Bailey, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Catherine the Great, Elizabeth the first, Isabella I of Spain, Lucrezia Borgia, Lizzie Borden, France Anne Córdova.

  68. a lawyer says:

    What you don’t see many of (especially in the global doodles as opposed to the localized ones) is politicians, revolutionaries, people who are still alive, and relatively few “first X to do Y” people. I’d take a guess and say that anyone who could be described as controversial is probably right out.

    Google is a Fortune 500 company. They’re not going to honor anyone or anything any significant number of potential customers would object to unless failure to do so would be even more unpopular. Their incentive is to stick to honoring people and events who are notable but won’t offend anyone (or at least will offend very few people).

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  70. Laura says:

    A friend of mine works for Google and they are always interested in this kind of feedback. I’m going to forward this post to him. I hope it helps!

  71. Ld-G says:

    Because we’ve lived with the myth that men created the world and everything good in it for long enough. As long as men get to designate who and what in history is important, young women will continue to learn that all their sex has contributed throughout all of history is their wombs.

    I see the point here, and I certainly think that the suggestions on this blog are great. However, speaking quite broadly, it does make sense that there are more important male characters in history than women characters –– at least the history we know about. Precisely because so many societies have been repressive toward women for so long, if we’re totting up major historical figures it comes as no surprise that men would have the edge: they wrote the history books! That is not to say that there were not extremely influential women, but (particularly in the distant past) history has forgotten a higher percentage of females than males.

    All that having been said, I nominate Ayn Rand. Love her or hate her, she made a real impact.

  72. Adi says:

    Seconding Octavia Butler. I’d also mention Rosalind Franklin, who did much of the research for Watson and Crick’s discovery of the genome, and Hedy Lamarr, who co-invented frequency-hopping, a technique that formed the basis for modern wireless communication.

  73. eor says:

    Annie Jump Cannon.

  74. Margaret says:

    Adding: Wilhelmina Fleming. Housekeeper-turned-astronomer who invented the star classification system. Nice story there: she worked for a professor who became angry with his grad students and told them his housekeeper could do better. There’s a Wikipedia page about her.

  75. Seconding, thirding, whatever:

    Hatshepsut – pharaoh of Egypt.
    Eleanore Roosevelt
    Sarah Winnemucca – first Native American woman to secure a copywrite and publish in the English language.
    Wilma Mankiller – first woman elected chief of the Cherokee nation
    Princess Kaiulani – active voice against American annexation of Hawai’i.
    Dolores Ibárruri “La Pasionaria”
    Sojourner Truth
    Harriet Tubman
    Bessie Smith
    Indira Ghandi
    Lady Murasaki

    Aung San Suu Kyi (I can’t believe no one has mentioned her yet!)
    Tomoe Gozen (Japanese female samurai general)
    Andree Peel (holder of French Legion D’Honeurre & Croix du Guerre medals for her work in the French Resistance)
    Josephine Baker (entertainer also honored for her work during WWII)
    Dian Fosse
    Ida B. Wells-Barnett (co-founder of the NAACP)
    Madam C.J. Walker (African-American businesswoman and millionaire)
    Corazon Aquino, President of the Philippines

  76. GibsonGirl99 says:

    I can’t believe Toni Morrison has only been mentioned ONCE! She’s won the Nobel Prize for Literature! That might be one way Google could catch a shortcut – any woman who’s won any sort of Nobel: automatic doodle for the anniversary of the win, birthday, whatever! From the lists presented in the post, it also appears that the ‘global’ posts are very art/technology/US centric, but there are a few countries out there that clearly want to celebrate their own-that they need to be more evenhanded, however, is clear on all levels.

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  78. Annalee Rockwood says:

    How about Katherine Stinson? At the age of 21, she became the fourth woman to get a U.S. Pilot’s license–it was issued 24th July 1912, so if Google acts now, they’ll be just in time.

    She was the first woman to perform a loop, and one of the first to fly air mail in the United States and Canada. She flew stunt shows for the American Red Cross and worked as an ambulance driver in WWI. She also played some mean piano. Remarkable woman.

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  80. Danielle says:

    Grace Hopper, definitely. She was freaking badass; not only did she come up with the first compiler and COBOL, she was also a Rear Admiral Naval officer with a whole bunch of medals. She’s right up there with Ada Lovelace as my inspiration for women in information tech.

  81. praisegod barebones says:

    I’m wondering how many people who don’t have a connection with Turkey (or who haven’t just googled her) know who Sabiha Gokcen was…

    @a lawyer: yep, it really wouldn’t fit in with Google’s core values to honour Ada Lovelace now, would it…

  82. Heather says:

    Ahh! I just saw this on Bitch and wanted to comment.

    Why do feminists want to Google to recognize women/womyn?
    I don’t. Google is a corporation, part of the cog in the white supremacist, patriarchal, capitalist machine. I don’t want Google to “recognize” womyn/women. I don’t want to live in a world in which maybe some sort of satisfaction can happen if Google (or any other corporation) recognizes me. Fuck Google!

    I’d rather have a different world in which I do not have to have these types of conversations.

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